(San Francisco, CA, March 26, 2014)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Equality California (EQCA) are launching a petition campaign urging California Public Employees’ Retirement System—CalPERS—to divest from Russian companies directly supporting the torture and abuse of LGBTQ youth in Russia.

CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the nation, has invested more than $25 million in mail.ru and MegaFon, which are tied to VK.Com, the Russian internet company that has allowed Occupy Pedophilia to post videos of LGBTQ teenagers being kidnapped, tortured, and beaten, encouraging copycat attacks on LGBTQ youth, and putting youth in further danger by outing them to their families and anti-LGBTQ gangs in Russian.

“The situation for LGBTQ individuals in many parts of the world is a nightmare,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “In Russia, many LGBTQ people live in daily terror. We must send the message that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are not alone. We must bring to bear whatever pressure and influence we can to end the violent repression of LGBTQ people in Russia.”

“These companies know that they are enabling a campaign of terror against Russia’s LGBTQ community, but have failed their barest responsibility to end their complicity in kidnappings, beatings, and torture,” said John O’Connor, executive director of EQCA. “CalPERS must shoulder that responsibility to put lives above profit—it is literally the least they can do.”

The California State Senate has already passed a resolution authored by Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by NCLR and EQCA calling on CalPERS to end investments in Russia due to its anti-LGBTQ laws that criminalize people for being LGBTQ or simply for speaking out in favor of LGBTQ rights. While CalPERS says it condemns what is happening in Russia, it continues to provide money not just to Russian businesses, but to businesses that are directly harming and exploiting LGBTQ youth.

NCLR and EQCA will deliver the petition and the names of all those who signed it to CalPERS, calling on the pension fund to immediately divest from these companies.

Sign the petition at www.NCLRights.org/CalPERSPetition.